WICHITA, Kansas — The winter weather this week has wreaked havoc for many drivers.
However, the cold spell also brings a hidden danger, ice covered bodies of water.
These frozen ponds or creeks can be fun for many who might venture out on them. Firefighters warn though that fun on the ice can quickly turn deadly.
The cold temperatures leave many area ponds totally frozen, but some areas still have some thin spots.
Captain Tony Tracy with the Sedgwick County Fire Department says those thin spots make it easy to fall through if you are out on the ice.
“It’s extremely dangerous once they get wet, hypothermia sets in really really quick,” said Tracy.
Tracy says hypothermia can begin to set in within minutes, causing many of our physical functions to stop working.
“Your fingers don’t work and the colder you get, then the bigger muscles stop working and pretty soon it becomes impossible for you to even rescue yourself,” said Tracy.
Tracy says in recent years they’ve worked up to a half dozen ice rescues in a given year. He says the fire department makes the necessary preparations to be ready when needed.
“We have specialized water craft, inflatable boats and some special rescue boards that allow us to maneuver on ice and not fall through,” said Tracy.
If you do happen to fall through the ice, there are some tips to keep you safe.
If you fall through, cover your mouth and nose. A breath of cold water can be deadly.
Also, if you’re going on the ice, bring a whistle along so you can call for help in case of an emergency.